The Spirit of the Suwannee’s most anticipated festival of the year has arrived – Hulaween 2019. Taking place from October 24-27 in Live Oak, Florida, The Spirit of Suwannee sprawls out across 800 acres along the historic Suwannee River. Surrounded by the Spanish Moss, festival goers this year were treated to the talents of The String Cheese Incident, Bassnectar, Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, Tom Morello, STS9, Umphrey’s McGee, and many more.
Suwannee has been captivating and stealing people’s hearts for years. Just one step onto the grounds and through the woods and you will be hooked. With trails winding around the woods, the possibilities of where people can camp is endless. Either grabbing a tree to tie a hammock to, or roping off a massive plot with tapestries for the ultimate compound to gather to outside the festivities. Normally a festival’s production is what allows you to feel as if you have entered another world. While Suwannee’s production wildly exceeds in that field, almost better than any other in the nation. The Spirit of the Suwannee on it’s own is capable of making you feel like you are in another world. There is this magic to it all, and you just have to experience it to know.
In the 2019 installment of Hulaween, the festival at this rate is just improving on top of what they already do so flawlessly at relative ease. Taking acts from Jam, Rock, Soul, and Electronic that make up what always seems to be an impressive lineup year after year. On top of consistency in the lineup, attendees will always be treated to an improved production value than the years before. The massive team that puts together the Florida-based festival builds and improves annually on the mysterious and haunting production that surrounds you as you wander through the magic of Suwannee.
The String Cheese Incident flexes a heavy influence on the festival year to year and determining to determining what the theme will be. This year the crowd embodied the style and spirit of the The 90’s. Cue the denim on denim and flashy colors. String Cheese took one of their six sets to break out all the hits from the 90’s. Red Hot Chili Peppers and Nirvana to Tupac and TLC, SCI with the help of Rhonda Thomas and Tony White on stage capped off their Saturday set in style. Take a peek at the set list below:
Give It Away - Red Hot Chili Peppers Santeria - Sublime Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana Loser - Beck One Hand In My Pocket - Alanis Morissette The Wedge - Phish Creep - Radiohead Even Flow - Pearl Jam Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls - TLC No Diggity - Blackstreet and Dr. Dre California Love - Tupac feat. M.C. Hann This Is How We Do It- Montell Jordan Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It - Will Smith U Can’t Touch This - MC Hammer Groove Is In The Heart - Deee-Lite
The upgrades made to the Spirit Lake area have reached what seems maximum potential – but we know Hulaween will top itself again. Towering wooden sculptures of monsters latch on to the robust base of the Northern Florida vegetation. Spooky villages equipped with secret rooms, mediation areas, and a cirque-style casino lie within in the woods. Walking among the madness of festival goers are everything from ents, fire spinners, and acrobatic acts. The infamous lake itself comes to life as the sun drops. Projection mapping from 360 degrees and bursts of fire shoot from floating sculptures in the middle of the lake. Sounds of laughter and celebration shoot through the woods all night as festival goers are left in awe from the scene.
From the electronic aspect of Hulaween – TCE’s favorite sets of the weekend in no particular order were Clozee, CharlestheFirst, and Bassnectar. The Amphitheater Stage hosts as the perfect gathering for electronic music – there is not a “bad seat in the house”. Clozee kicked off the night on Friday with her unique tribal-esque delivery. The French DJ, smile from cheek to cheek the entire night, moved a full crowd with poise and was received with a warm, positive Florida response.
CharlestheFirst is no stranger to Suwannee. Having a pivotal show played at The Amphitheater at Tipper and Friends 2017, excitement was high for the return to the stage that kicked a lot of things off for the artist. That hype built with Charles coming just off of a new six song EP, ‘No Dimmer’, made for an excellent set. Chill, intelligent beats with the perfect mix of hip hop influence are Charles signature style, and a few year in now it feels like he is blossoming.
Then there is Bassnectar. You know what to expect, just as much as you don’t know what to expect. One thing is certain though – it is Halloween time and Lorin Ashton loves Halloween. It is an opportunity to get things darker and deeper. Ashton started off his 2019 Hulaween set with the knob turned to 11. A Chicken Dippaz opener blew the Florida crowd away and set the tone for the whole night. Hulaween kicked off a giant run for the legendary artist – hitting Voodoo Music + Art Festival in New Orleans, before heading up to the Midwest for a wild three night Halloween run.
Overall, Suwannee Hulaween continues to hold its spot on top festivals in the nation. The ease at which it seems this festival continues to impress is almost unsurprising at this rate. Hulaween is just expected to be great and seemingly has yet to let anyone down. The uniqueness and care to production that takes place as consistently on an annual basis as the folks at Hulaween make this a must-see event. The Chronic Electronic was so excited to attend and capture it all! We look forward to being back in 2020!